The strawberry season in Egypt is experiencing a decline in productivity, according to Mr. Elsayed Elgohary, producer of Egyptian strawberries: "We have observed a deterioration in the quality of Florida varieties plants, and we are discussing this issue with our suppliers. This has caused a drop in productivity, which I can estimate at 15%, but volumes will remain stable this season thanks to an increase in acreage. The total national volume will be around 250,000 tons, which will allow Egypt to remain the world's leading exporter of strawberries".
Adverse weather conditions are also contributing to the productivity decline, according to the producer: "Usually, the Egyptian autumn is mild, and the winter is warm. In the last two years, the autumn is warmer than usual, and the winter is cooler, which is favorable to several crops, but not strawberries. This situation raises many challenges to keep up productivity and quality."
In terms of demand, Elsayed expects stable demand compared to last season, with the same trends: strong demand from European markets, especially Germany, and from the United States, East Asia, and some African countries.
Egyptian producers will benefit this year from the devaluation of the Egyptian pound against foreign currencies, says Elsayed: "This year, we will have no competition in terms of prices, despite the increase in costs. Our costs keep increasing, and have reached 250K pounds per Feddan this year" (1 feddan = 0.42 ha).
However, according to the producer, a large part of the costs are paid in local currency: "A single feddan requires a thousand workers, in all phases of production. Since these costs are paid in local currency, it allows us to take advantage of the devaluation of the currency and offer unbeatable prices. We will be able to deliver at an average price of fewer than 1,100 euros per ton, which is slightly lower than last season's prices."
The majority of strawberry volumes come from the sandy desert soils, while Mr. Elsayed operates in the black soils: "We have the particularity of using heavy clay soils in the old delta, as opposed to the sandy desert soils. This allows us to have a totally different quality of strawberries, stronger fruit, and better taste. We take great care of the quality and vitality of the soil, the absence of pesticide residues as well as any type of damage to the fruit. We have a better shelf life, good taste, and a beautiful aesthetic appearance, with a nice coloring, suitable for supermarkets."
Mr. Elsayed concludes: "We operate on 30 hectares and will market 1,200-1,500 tons of strawberries this season, including 200 tons of fresh strawberries destined for supermarkets, and the rest frozen. we export our production through contracted packaging houses."
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Mr. Elsayed Elgohary